Chef aims to provide recipes for families

When cookbook fans meet, the conversation always seems to turn to what they look for in a cookbook. Good recipes, of course, are a must. Most also want full-color photographs of the completed dishes, clearly written instructions and type that is large and easy to read. It also helps if they recognize the author’s name. And since many fans like to read cookbooks more than actually cook, the book should include interesting stories or plenty of helpful information.

Based on those criteria, the latest cookbook from celebrity chef Curtis Stone will be a hit. “What’s for Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life” features 130 recipes that Stone says will help you put a delicious meal on the dinner table every day, along with plenty of photos by Quentin Brown and lots of kitchen notes for making cooking more enjoyable.

Stone, who did a cooking demonstration at the Tanger Factory Outlet Center in Gonzales on April 6 (see event photos, page XE), is host of Bravo’s program Top Chef Masters and worked with contestants on the television program The Biggest Loser.

“A happy family starts with a home-cooked meal,” the native of Australia writes in his book’s introduction.

The book is divided by the day of the week: Motivating Mondays with healthful meals for starting off the week; recipes that can be on the table in 15 to 40 minutes for Tuesdays; One-Pot Wednesdays; budget-friendly recipes for Thursdays; simple, five-ingredient recipes for Fridays; ideas for dinner parties on Saturdays; and Family Supper Sundays, with such recipes as Southern fried chicken, Southwestern chili and homemade fish and chips.

There is also a chapter for desserts. Among them are New York cherry cheesecake, spiced apple pie, peach and almond cobbler, chocolate bread pudding and his mother’s sticky toffee ice cream.

FYI

You might want to dig that fondue pot out from the back of the kitchen cabinet today to celebrate National Cheese Fondue Day.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com.

Advocate-tested recipe

Fettucine With Shrimp and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Serves 4. Recipe is from “What’s for Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life” by Curtis Stone, who writes, “Shrimp is a great time-saver because it cooks so quickly. … Fresh jalapeños give the dish a pleasant spiciness. Look for red jalapeños, which are riper and a bit sweeter than the green ones, or red Fresno peppers. If you can’t find either, green jalapeños make a fine substitute.”

1 lb. dried fettuccine

1/4 cup olive oil

1 lb. large (21 to 30 count) shrimp, peeled, tails left on, and deveined

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2⁄3 cup finely chopped shallots

5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red chili peppers, such as Fresno or jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped

2⁄3 cup dry white wine

5 large ripe tomatoes (about 21/2 lbs. total), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 tbls. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tbls. fresh lemon juice

3 tbls. unsalted butter

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring often to keep the strands from sticking together, for about 8 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until opaque around the edges. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots, garlic and jalapeños and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the shallots soften. Add the wine and simmer for about 2 minutes, or until reduced slightly.

3. Drain the pasta well, add it to the shrimp mixture, and toss gently to coat with the sauce. Add the tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss again wto melt the butter and coat the pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss well.

4. Divide the pasta and shrimp among the four pasta bowls and serve.